Grand Ledge’s Top Games of the Year


Graphic by Glenn Horne

Graphic by Glenn Horne

Glenn Horne, Staff Writer

Ah, what a time to be alive, am I right? I mean, just think about it. Sure, people complain about being bored all the time, but really that is our fault. If people ever choose to surround themselves in the world around them, we would notice all the things in our life that at one time or another seemed fantastic. People have music, literature, film, and most recently, video games, every one of them giving us something to entertain ourselves with. All of these things receive various degrees of attention from critics and the people’s mass alike. The most important to me (being the one I choose to spend the most time with) is the Game Awards. Simply, these awards are given during an annual event that celebrates the best video games of the year, spread across several different categories and varieties, including: “Best Narrative,” “Best Game Direction,” and “Best On-Going Game,” Most important of all categories is “Game of the Year” (GotY), the one award that defines the triumph of artisanship in the dense universe of gaming.

   I, however, was more interested in seeing what my friends and the student body of GLHS had to say about their choices for Game of the Year. Admittedly, some of these choices may be due to their “favorite” game, and not necessarily the “best”. Ethan Hilton is a junior at GLHS who spends most of his time playing video games and writing music. I chose him because he is known to look at things from an objective point of view, and determine the creative value of something based on the evidence presented by the art itself.

   “As far as the cinematic approach for games, I think ‘A Way Out’ takes some steps forward in the right direction as far as normalizing this approach,” Hilton stated. “I think an interactive movie is something that is very marketable.”

   As stated earlier, “favorite” and “best” are different, so he was asked what his “favorite” game was to see if his answer differed.

   “As far as my [favorite] type of game, I think ‘Hitman 2’ improves the stealth genre [his favorite] greatly, continuing to make it better and better,” Hilton said.

   The long since perfect stealth genre is truly making a slow climb back to greatness with games like “Hitman 2,” I have to agree. However, he brings up another interesting point, and even though it does not really qualify for something eligible to be nominated for Game of the Year, it is an interesting discussion topic.

   Sure, this is the opinion of one person here at GLHS. But more importantly, of course, is what I think the best game of the year was! Right? Regardless of whether or not my opinion has merit, here it is. According to the Game Awards, the 2018 Game of the Year was Sony Interactive’s “God of War,” an exclusive to PlayStation 4 title that released on April 1, 2018. Not a bad choice, if I am being honest. A better decision than the runners-up, “Red Dead Redemption II” and “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.” So, if I do not agree with either of these choices, then what do I think was GotY? Well, there is a little company based out of Poland called CD Projekt Red, most recognized for their 2015 GotY winner, “The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.” “The Witcher 3” is an open world Role Playing Game based on Polish and European myths and fairytales. That game ended the mainline story of the franchise, but this year they released “Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales,” a spin off game that holds all the same charm and intriguing storylines as “The Witcher 3.” “Thronebreaker” is another open world Role-Playing Game, but this time the camera is angled top down rather than directly behind the player, and with gameplay vastly different from its predecessors. Players play as Meve, a Queen who is exiled from her throne, and the goal is to regain that throne through whatever means necessary. Gameplay consists of gathering resources from the expansive world and using these to build up your army. Combat is made up of commanding that army in a style similar to the digital card game “Hearthstone.” Honestly, I was not expecting anything near the quality of the game I got when I bought it. This game delivers on every level, and in every way possible in what we ask for in a game. It has an absolutely enthralling storyline with twists and emotional conflicts so powerful they make the player rethink what you originally thought about certain characters or a specific situation. The game forces players to make decisions almost constantly, and no matter how big or small the decision, I found myself trying to think through all the different possible outcomes. This was because I knew no matter the choice I made, it would have both a strong impact on the story and the actual gameplay itself, whether it be a good or bad outcome. Most games that claim to have this feature fall completely flat on their faces with only specific segments of story being altered. “Thronebreaker” however, does everything right in this regard. The only two major complaints I have about the game are the fact that combat seems to pop up somewhat too frequently, sometimes hindering my experience in exploring the world, and that the combat also varies too much in difficulty without a nice curve. It jumps around from being an absolute breeze to play, to a heavenly balance of difficulty, and to “I want to tear my hair out” hard.

However, because of “Thronebreaker’s” perfect balance of intricately incorporating the effects of decision making and gameplay into the storyline, and the actual encapsulating storyline and characters themselves, I have to crown it 2018’s Game of the Year.